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Survivor’s website is glitching in a hilarious and surprising way

This is ridiculous and of no consequence and perhaps the dumbest and/or silliest thing I’ll ever report about Survivor. But I really needed some levity today—one of our cats suddenly has a health issue and we’re trying to figure out what to do, so it was nice to cry from laughter. And that’s exactly what I did when I pulled up the cast from an early season of Survivor while doing research for another piece.

At first, I did a double-take, thinking I’d forgotten something. My memory doesn’t have room for all 40 casts, and certainly not for the content of every episode. I frequently rely on the Internet’s memory to augment or verify my own recollection. So I checked Wikipedia, and the Survivor Wiki, but neither of them mentioned what I was seeing.

Denise Stapley, Ethan Zohn, Boston Rob Mariano, Jeremy Collins, Michele Fitzgerald, Adam Klein, and Ben Driebergen during the Survivor: Winners at War episode 3 immunity challenge
Two of the people in this photo from Survivor: Winners at War are in every single Survivor cast, according to its website. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

It reminded me just a little bit of the fun we had 20 years ago, when someone scouring CBS’s website’s code thought they found definitive proof that Gervase won the $1 million on Survivor Borneo.

Start browsing the casts of Survivor on CBS.com and see if you notice anything amiss. Maybe start with a season whose cast you don’t remember all that well. Any peculiarities?

I’ll just tell you: there are two cast members showing up on every season page even though they most definitely were not actually on most of those seasons.

And those two contestants just happen to be two winners: Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X winner Adam Klein and Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn.

CBS.com's Survivor Marquesas cast page shows Vecepia Towery, Zoe Zanidakis—and Adam Klein and Ethan Zohn!
CBS.com’s Survivor Marquesas cast page shows Vecepia Towery, Zoe Zanidakis—and Adam Klein and Ethan Zohn!

This is obviously a database error or something similar, and it’s somehow causing Adam and Ethan to appear on every cast page. And for some reason, I find it absolutely hilarious to see them repeated cast after cast, just showing up like they decided to get in on the fun.

I’m sure this is an error that’ll be fixed soon. I couldn’t quite figure out a pattern to what was happening, though.

For example, I thought maybe they were always included as the 17th and 18th cast members, as they’ve been added to the 16-person cast of Survivor Borneo and to the 16-person cast of Survivor: Marquesas.

But Survivor: The Australian Outback also had 16 players, and Ethan and Adam have replaced two people: Survivor: The Australian Outback’s cast is missing both Debb Eaton and winner Tina Wesson. And Adam and Ethan are the 19th and 20th people on the 18-person cast of Survivor: All-Stars.

An image from CBS.com's page for the Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X cast members, who include eventual winner Adam Klein, Ethan Zohn, and Adam Klein?!
An image from CBS.com’s page for the Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X cast members, who include eventual winner Adam Klein, Ethan Zohn, and Adam Klein?!

For the seasons in which they’ve actually appeared, Adam and Ethan appear twice. For example, Silas and Frank are missing from the Survivor: Africa cast, but Ethan is there twice.

Sometimes Adam and Ethan are at the start of a cast list, sometimes at the end, sometimes in other places. Starting with season 22, Survivor: Redemption Island, Jeff Probst’s photo is included with the cast photos, but that doesn’t affect how or where Ethan and Adam’s photo show up.

The only season that the glitch doesn’t happen is Survivor: Winners at War, which makes sense because the photos for Adam and Ethan that appear across the site are from season 40. But for now, enjoy their guest appearances across all 39 seasons.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.